Soy has been another one of those things--unclear whether it's bane or boon to women whose tumors feed on estrogen. The reason is that soy has estrogenic properties. Thus, Dr. Keith Block, who practices integrative medicine, advises women with estrogen-positive tumors to eat soy no more than two to three times a week. On the other hand, the very mainstream oncology bigwig from Fancy Hospital said that women with estrogen-positive tumors could have soy a couple of times a day. He said this at the Town Hall meeting this fall, but he didn't quote any studies that led to his recommendation.

Now comes a study from Vanderbilt and Shanghai. Researchers looked at 5,000 women with breast cancer. They found that those with the highest intake of soy protein had a 29 percent lower risk of death during the study period, and a 32 percent lower risk of breast cancer recurrence compared to patients with the lowest intake of soy protein. Women with both E-positive and E-negative tumors had positive results.

“I would say that this study would indicate that women with breast cancer should (eat) soy products,” says Dr. Xiao Ou Shu, an epidemiologist at Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Centre who authored the study. “I think that it shows there is protection there.”

So bring out the edamame, which I'd been eschewing all this time, and let's cut up the tofu, which I've always maintained is the original manna.